Over the past few weeks my craving to chew ice grew significantly and it started to make me wonder what was going on. I googled ice chewing and found that it is a pica which is
an abnormal desire to eat substances (as chalk or ashes) not normally eaten.What would cause such a thing and why would I have it? Many health and doctor sites claim that ice chewing is often a symptom of anemia which, according to Anemia.com is
a medical condition that occurs when a person does not have enough red blood cells. Red blood cells are important because they contain hemoglobin, a protein that carries oxygen from the lungs to the body's muscles and organs.
I've been diagnosed with anemia through blood tests before but only once was it at a really dangerous level and thanks to that episode, I learned to deal with having blood drawn at least to the point that I didn't actually faint when I felt like I would because that's what happens when you have to have it done so many times.
Still, I thought the ice-chewing symptom was a stretch because what does ice have to do with iron? I decided to test the theory by taking iron supplements. Lo and behold, I stopped wanting to eat ice! I know it sounds hokey but the change was dramatic and it makes a lot of sense that my iron levels would've decreased now more than usual given that I'm not eating meat during Lent. I still eat iron-rich foods that aren't meat, but the amount of iron absorbed from such non-heme sources can vary greatly depending upon what foods are eaten together.
Interesting stuff but I'll admit that I don't necessarily want to boost my hemoglobin levels too high because then I won't have an excuse not to donate blood more often. Hmm... maybe that's not such a good reason, is it?